Having a balanced diet is very important to our physical growth and development. However we give little importance to the diet required for spiritual development. Malnutrition occurs when there is inadequate amount of protein in the diet. Kwashiokor is another name for severe protein malnutrition. It’s usually found in people living in geographical areas that have limited food resources. It’s more commonly seen in children and symptoms include delayed or stunted growth, a really swollen stomach and frequent infections because the immune system is so weak. Sometimes, it could be accompanied by irritability, lethargy, loss of muscle mass and diarrhoea. The extreme lack of protein causes an osmotic imbalance in the gastro-intestinal system causing swelling of the gut (swollen stomach), diagnosed as an edema or retention of water.
This condition was very common during the Nigerian civil war, especially amongst children. I remember going to the hospital with my Mother, who was a pharmacist and I was so disturbed at seeing these pictures of children with these really bloated stomachs.
Their condition was a physical manifestation of their diet. To change this, all they needed was to be fed with more protein, and calories in the form of carbohydrates, sugars and fat. What is more, in the usual deceptive way of the enemy, he makes it look as if people have full stomachs, when indeed, they are starving and desperately require good nutritious food.
Papa reminded me about this picture the other day, asking how conscious of our spiritual diet are we? How nutritious is our spiritual diet and is it balanced or is it possible that we could be heading for spiritual kwashiorkor and not be aware?
Our lives are so busy, and what is our quiet time looking like?
I reckon that to look at this more closely, we need to understand how we were made, to help us understand what spiritual diet we should be on.
God created us as triune beings, Spirit, Soul and Body (Flesh). “May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole Spirit, Soul and Body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5v 23).
Our bodies can be in varying degrees of health or wholeness. Sometimes, we may appear to be healthy on the outside, but deep within, there is a lot that is going wrong that is not healthy.
We know how our body (flesh) desires that all its wants and desires be met. It’s best not to completely follow the dictates of our flesh. Next is our soul which is the part of us that unites our spirit with our body (flesh). It is made up of will…(the part of us that makes decisions), emotions….(the part that expresses how we feel) and the mind…(the part of our soul that thinks).
Most importantly, God’s Spirit communicates with our spirit. That is the connection we have to God, and so to be led by God, we have to have a healthy, nurtured spirit that communicates with God and have our body and soul under submission to it.
It’s important that we understand the role our spirit plays, so we can ensure it is fed, nurtured and kept healthy. God created our spirit to know Him. At salvation, His Spirit unites with our human spirit, and the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are now children of God. God created us for fellowship with Him. Remember, when we were saved, we ask Jesus and His Holy Spirit to enter into our lives, and we become a new creation, old things have passed away (2 Corinthians 5 v 17).
For us to understand how our spirit can lead our soul we have to take a closer look at our soul. Our will is a part of our soul. God gave us free will. God desires a people who surrender their will to Him because they trust Him and know that He is all wise.
Our feelings are expressed through our emotions. This is such a gift from God. Imagine what life would be like if you never experienced love, joy, excitement, happiness and sorrow. The emotions that hurt are things like, betrayal, bitterness, pride. For Him to use our emotions freely, they have to be renewed and brought under His Lordship.
Our minds are like a tape recorder. All our lives, they have been recording and storing events that have happened to us, the good, bad and ugly. Even things that happened to us in the womb…!!
People and different circumstances in our lives, have caused great hurt damaging our minds, will and our emotions. This goes on to affect us in life because these hurts are buried deep within us. Sometimes we have forgotten the memories, but they are still there, and we do life from that place of pain, but we mask the pain. Proverbs 17 v 22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Jesus said that He is coming for a bride without blemish, spot or wrinkle, so He encourages us to let Him into those hurtful places. This we can do if we live a spiritually healthy life.
In some situations, our spirit is ignored and trapped in our bodies, because we are so used to pampering and attending to the body (flesh). The spirit is unable to express itself so can’t take the dominant role.
In other situations, someone who is controlled by their soul will lack proper identity and you will find their emotions, mind and will are all over the place and always seek to be attended to. Here again, the spirit which Father God designed to be dominant and to control the soul, will not function in the way it should. The Bible says that whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, without walls. (Proverbs 25 v 28). You can imagine how dangerous this is.
Another of the many reasons why our soul sometimes dominates our spirit is because over the years our soul has been fed on lies we have believed from experiences that have happened to us.
Much as a person’s spirit is to rule the soul, it needs to be developed into the role through stimulation and nurturing. I love Psalm 42 v 4-6 where David’s spirit is encouraging his soul ” why are you downcast within me?, put your hope in God for I will yet praise Him, my Saviour and my God.” We know David nurtured his spirit on the word, worship and being in the Presence of God. When we speak of being filled with the Spirit, we mean that God’s Spirit flows through your well nurtured spirit and infuses it and also your soul and flesh that are under authority. This enables you walk in the fullness of who Father God has called you to be. It enables you carry the Father heart of God, walking tall in your identity and relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The most important food for our spirit to feed on, is the undiluted Word of God. I would say this is like the much needed protein. This is not the same as feeding on a book which is someone’s opinion of God’s Word, as good as that may be. When the Holy Spirit says He will bring to our remembrance, He means He will remind us of the Word of God that we have read. This is why we are told to hide the Word in our hearts. I am not in anyway saying don’t read books. I am encouraging us not to substitute the Word of God for anything else. Rather read the Word than the books.
The next best thing is to make declarations for your spirit man to encourage it to grow. You can write declarations from the bible about your spirit man and speak them over yourself. Thirdly, it’s great to pray in tongues daily, for a period of time if you walk in this gift. It’s also very nurturing to your spirit man to soak in the Presence. Finally, and not the least, entering into the place of worship, is great for nurturing your spirit man.
Prayer…Father God, thank you for opening our minds to our need to feed well and nourish our spirit man. Show us what to do, and help us to be diligent about doing this. Help us have our spirit to rule over our flesh and our soul. Cause our spirit to be the head and not the tail. Give us a greater insight into this, in Jesus’s Name.
God bless us all.